The society consists of different people: the rich and the poor; the wealthy and the poor; the young and elderly. While some categories of people can provide for themselves millions of others cannot afford to meet their needs. That probably explains the popular saying that all fingers are not equal.
The truth is that since the society consists of these different groups of people, they must learn to co-habit irrespective of their differences. The privileged ones must learn how to extend helping hands to the needy for the world to go round.
On the lock down, the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID-19), a private sector-led initiative against the novel coronavirus pandemic, said it would distribute food palliatives to about 1.7 million households. The coalition also said it was willing to spend more than N21 billion in providing isolation centres in six geo-political zones of the country, testing kits, palliatives, enlightenment campaign and other medical and non-medical supports to complement government efforts aimed at containing the pandemic.
The Ghetto Library Foundation on the other hand is focusing attention on children has also come into the scene.
It decided to get them some basic food items, soap for hand washing and some of books for children to keep them occupied and entertained this period. For two to three times every week since the lock down, it has able to send food supplies to those in the ghetto.
The founder of the NGO, Mrs. Elsie Oghenekaro, relayed her experience: “Chinedu is my market guy. It is from him I buy all of my dry foodstuff in the market. A few days before the lockdown, I warned him to prepare, advised him to make arrangements with a taxi who would act as delivery guy. Then I suggested he proposes to his regular customers that they could call him and place orders during the lockdown and he would supply.
“He took my counsel and for the past two weeks he was able to do brisk business. On Saturday I sent him a list as usual for my Ghetto Library foodstuff. Two hours later he called me frantically; ‘Mummy, I don arrange everything but no taxi to bring am come your place. They no gree taxi comot. Abeg you fit come carry the load?’ Two of my tyres were bad but I had to hobble and wobble to go pick up the load.
“Do you want to hear about the very sick old lady I met at my street junction last week? Or the dustbin pickers around my estate? The challenges are real. Prices have skyrocketed, the shelves are emptying out in the big shops, and we are entering the rainy season, which is the planting season when food is usually more expensive.
“Now we are home for another two weeks. I understand. But we need to do something before we save the umbrella at the expense of the baby in the rain. Is there perhaps a totally Nigerian, nay, African, solution to this thing?”
As part of its contributions to support government’s efforts, the Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Society distributed cash to its members nationwide to cushion the pains occasioned by the lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos, Ogun and some other states.
The national Imam of the group, Fuad Adeyemi, said the palliative was made through beneficiaries’ bank accounts to ensure that they do not crowd around the distribution venues.
In the first week of the lockdown, the society distributed raw and cooked foods to its members and to more than 100 residents of its headquarters neighbourhood of Asokoro Extension in Abuja.
In the second week, it distributed food and cash to members and to a large number of people, but had a Herculean task of ensuring that beneficiaries observed the social distancing regime necessary to stave infection.
Adeyemi said that the society resolved to limit itself to cash distribution in the third week of the lockdown as the number of beneficiaries increased astronomically and it was becoming tedious to make social distancing effective.
He explained that the regular distribution of palliatives during the period of restrictions of movement and of businesses was in line with the teaching of the Holy Quran where it says in Quran 2:195 that “And spend in the way of Allah and do not throw yourselves with your own hands into destruction by refraining. And do good; indeed Allah loves the doers of good.”
Adeyemi enjoined all Nigerians to play their parts fully to bring an end to the contagion while not forgetting to reach out to the needy to ensure that the pains of the lockdown are brought to the barest minimum.
The Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Society is an Islamic think-tank whose areas of activities cut across education, Islamic and Western, mosque projects as well as other Islamic activities aimed at creating genuine leadership for Muslims.
It operates a Food Bank, which feeds hundreds of thousands of all faithful , Muslims and non-Muslims during Islamic Ramadan month of fasting, just as it gives Zakat (assistance) annually to the needy as commanded by Almighty Allah.
As the realities of COVID-19 bites harder for many households, President Muhammadu Buhari’s photographer, Bayo Omoboriowo, said he was glad to have his family and friends joined him to lend a helping hand in select communities in the FCT:
“Our goal was to share basic food palliatives (Rice, Beans, Garri, Bread, Milk, Drinks amongst others) to 700 households.” With the help of Ofadaboy, a food and beverage company, whose support got him collaborations with Maggi Nigeria, Malta Guinness and Peak Milk, they were able to distribute the palliatives, while ensuring social distancing:
“We pray that this pandemic passes over the world and everything returns to normalcy. Until then, we will do what’s within our circle of influence to flatten the curve of this pandemic.”
Mrs. Esther Akinduro, a daughter of retired soldier, has since a day after official commencement of the lockdown, been giving out 120 packs of food daily and 120 bottled water to security personnel enforcing the lockdown:
“Coming from similar background I know how it can be tough for men in uniform and despite that, we see their resilience, doggedness and devotion to serve on display each and every time the need arises! They are humans like us and have families that needs love and protection in this exceptionally challenging season like anyone if us, but unlike us, they are on the streets on duty, serving our interest as such, I felt led to reach out to them and let them know they are not alone, the public which I represent appreciates their sacrifices and their courage is exemplary to us all! Hence I took the step, not minding the limited resources available.
“I take different locations per day, I have been to Mararaba, Airport road, Lokogoma, Area1, Asokoro, Maitama, Deidei, Central area, Wuse, Utako, Jabi and Mpape.
“Once they are a lot of personnel’s on duty mostly, so once we are done with the quantity produced we retire and continue the next day.
We’ve been to some places twice as the case may be. We mostly target areas where food vendors or restaurants are not within reach. Especially and mostly under the bridges and express.”